News Live Scores
World Cup

Carlsberg Player of the Week: Igor Akinfeev sends Russia into dreamland

11:28 AM WAT 02/07/2018
Igor Akinfeev Russia Spain
The 32-year-old came up with a terrific performance under the bar to sink the Spanish armada....

On Sunday, Spain were expected to ease into the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup, given that they were facing the hosts Russia who are not exactly a footballing powerhouse. 

Fernando Hierro's men, if they had expected an easy routine, were in for a rude awakening against the home team who put on a gallant and spirited display to win the match on a penalty shootout. 

And the hero on the night for the hosts was none other than their custodian, Igor Akinfeev. The 32-year-old put in arguably his best performance till date to seal a quarter-final berth for his team. 

Spain, as is typical of them, dominated the game and hogged possession. They enjoyed almost 79 per cent ball possession and had 24 shots on goal, of which nine were on target. However, none of those could beat a determined Akinfeev. Spain's opener came courtesy of an unfortunate own-goal by the experienced Sergey Ignashevich.

Russia would go on to equalise through an Artem Dzyuba penalty. With the crowd roaring them on, they would keep Spain at bay for the rest of the match. 

Akinfeev was on hand everytime Spain threatened and made several vital saves during the course of 120 minutes. In fact, he pulled off nine saves including a superb effort to deny Rodrigo from scoring late on in extra time. 

But his true heroics came in the penalty shootouts when he jumped acrobatically to parry Koke's kick out and then save Iago Aspas' penalty with his legs, a save that ultimately ensured Spain's exit and Russia's progression. 

As the streets of Moscow and almost every other Russian city went into delirium, Igor Akinfeev was the name on everybody's lips.